Bruxism is the habit of grinding and pressing one’s teeth on each other that often occurs while sleeping. Gnashing and pressing of teeth may in some cases wake up those around you. The teeth are worn and get chipped and plain.
Bruxism’s Age of Occurrence
Bruxism is seen in adults as well as children. It is common in children, but is treated until the age of 10. In adults, this illness appears between the ages of 20 and 40, and is less prevalent in higher ages. Bruxism may begin at the age of 3 and continue until death. It’s important to note that bruxism may also occur in children during their milk tooth period.
The Relationship between Bruxism and Stress
Bruxism is common during childhood and is considered a sleep disorder. Doctors don’t know all the causes of bruxism and there is no direct relationship between daily stress and bruxism. This disorder occurs during one of the deep sleep stages and doesn’t require psychiatric treatment. In most cases, this disorder begins around the age of 3 to 5 and has family history in approximately 35% of affected children.
Although stress doesn’t cause bruxism, all sleep disorders such as bruxism, night terrors and nightmares could be intensified by daily stress due to anxiety, emotional strain, insomnia, and stress. Stress could be caused by anger or changes in daily life, a new teacher, or the birth of a new sister or brother, and parental punishments or arguments. Other psychological factors such as crises and conflicts, swallowing anger, and active and confrontational personalities may intensify this disorder. Also, any disorder that appears in the temporomandibular joint can have symptoms such as bruxism, headache and facial pain. Temporomandibular joint problems and pain appears differently in different ages. For example, this disorder is accompanied by teeth loss in the old people, and by psychological and mental strain in young people, affecting the nervous centers related to the masticatory system and teeth in all cases, followed by bruxism.
In the past, there was assumed to be a direct correlation between bodily parasites and bruxism. Although later, no relationship was found between bodily parasites and bruxism, it does no harm to investigate anyway.
Some dentists believe that the malocclusion of mandibular and maxillary teeth or a tooth’s premature contact could lead to this problem in some adults. In some cases, bruxism is caused by the Huntington or the Parkinson’s disease and can be a side-effect of psychiatric drugs, including antidepressants.
Bruxism often occurs during sleep, but grinding or smashing teeth is also common during the day. Constant bruxism may cause gingival recession and loss of supportive oral bones, fractured and smooth tooth enamel, and hypersensitivity. Additionally, bruxism could stiffen the masticatory muscles, cause earache (due to the contraction of masticatory muscles; not implying that this problem occurs in the ear), severe headache in the morning, chewing and traumatization accompanied by pressures inside the jaw, nervous headaches, mandible pain or chronic facial pain in the morning, and temporomandibular joint disorders (located in front of the ear, can be felt by opening and closing the mouth) and restricting the mouth opening.
Unfortunately, there is no specific treatment for this habit. Pharmacotherapy, psychotherapy, changing side while sleeping, treating malocclusion, and others are recommended for treating bruxism. The only way to prevent damage to the teeth and join is to use a night guard. Night guard is a plastic component that is built according to the patient’s maxilla (and in some cases the mandible) mold, which the patient places on top of their teeth every night before sleep to relieve the pressures and incorrect contacts between teeth and prevent damages (bruxism is treated in case of habitualness, and the dentist may prescribe sedatives to break this habit in patients in 6 months). The night guard should be placed in the mouth every night as long as the person has teeth.
Furthermore, if this disorder is caused by the malocclusion, the dentist will treat it. Crowns that fully cover your occlusal surfaces are used in very severe cases where the enamel causes hypersensitivity or inability to masticate. If the dentist diagnoses that bruxism causes the scaling of children’s teeth, no particular treatment is necessary for the children suffering from bruxism. The night guard is given to the family to be placed inside the child’s mouth at nights so that the dental enamel isn’t damaged in case of bruxism.